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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Giants and Brandon Belt won’t end up presenting their arguments in front of a three-person arbitration panel.
But at least they got some frequent flier miles out of the deal.
Belt traveled to St. Petersburg, Fla., in preparation for a hearing scheduled to take place on Wednesday. But the proceedings were avoided when he and the Giants agreed to terms on a one-year, $2.9 million contract Tuesday night.
Belt had filed at $3.6 million and the Giants filed at $2.05 million. They settled just above the $2.825 midpoint.
The Giants and Belt came to an agreement barely eight hours before what would’ve been the club’s first arbitration hearing in a decade; they were defeated by catcher A.J. Pierzynski prior to the 2004 season.
It’s hard to believe Belt would be able to hop a flight that would return him to Arizona in time for Wednesday’s first full-squad workout. Giants manager Bruce Bochy joked that he’d have Michael Morse work out at first base in Belt’s absence, but in reality, there’s no question that Belt – 14th in the NL in OPS last season – will be the club’s starter at the position.
Giants GM Brian Sabean expects to broach talks with Belt’s camp about a multiyear contract this spring, which would give security to the player and cost certainty to the team. But with Wednesday’s hearing looming, the two sides had been focused on addressing the arbitration clock with a one-year deal for now.
A reminder: Belt remains under club control for three seasons after this one. He can’t become a free agent until after the 2018 season.
No truth to the rumor that Belt and the Giants hammered out the deal at one of the many Olive Garden restaurants in the greater Tampa/St. Pete area.